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E06414: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 11.5) of 600, to Adeodata, a noblewoman, refers to her request for unspecified relics. Written in Latin in Rome.

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posted on 2018-09-11, 00:00 authored by frances
Pope Gregory the Great, Register of Letters 11.5

Full text of the letter:

Ut moram in dandis reliquiis, quas gloria uestra petit, faceremus, non uoluntate distulimus, sed praecedentis rei nos casus fecit ambigere. Deus autem omnipotens cordis uestri deuotionem intuens miraculorum signis admonentibus a uestra uos intentione fraudari non pertulit. Sed ideo desiderium uestrum modica uoluit dilatione differri, ut docentibus miraculis et amor uobis cresceret in ueneratione sanctorum et maior fieret exsultatio gaudiorum. Quia ergo in effectu postulate rei gloriae uestrae uota completa sunt, hortamur ut, cuius praedicatores colitis, eius sollicite mandata seruetis et, sicut religiosa deuotione terrena sanctorum honoribus loca construitis, sic quoque cum eis mansionem uobis procurare in caelestibus festinetis, quatenus et hic illos in omnibus adiutores et in futura mereamini habere uita consortes.

‘Gregory to Adeodata, illustris woman
That there was a delay in giving you the relics that your Glory seeks, did not happen willingly, but the occurrence of an earlier matter made us hesitate. But almighty God looked down on the devotion of your heart, and with the warning signs of miracles, He did not allow you to be cheated of your intention. But you wanted to put off your wish with a moderate delay, for the purpose that, as the miracles are evident, your love might grow in the veneration of the saints and exultation of your joys might become greater. And so, since the prayers of your Glory have been fulfilled in the outcome of the matter as requested, we exhort you to observe carefully the commandments of God, whose priests you cherish. Just as with religious devotion you construct earthly places to honour the saints, so also you hasten to look for a dwelling for yourself with them in Heaven, so that you may deserve to have them as your helpers in all things here, and as your partners in future life.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 866. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 3, 741, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saints, unnamed : S00518

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Aristocrats

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


A letter transmitted as part of Gregory the Great’s Register of Letters. This letter collection, organised into fourteen books, is large and contains letters to a variety of recipients, including prominent aristocrats, members of the clergy and royalty. The issues touched on in the letters are equally varied, ranging from theological considerations to mundane administrative matters. This collection of letters, which was possibly curated by Gregory, was originally much larger. The surviving Register comprises several groups of letters which were extracted at several later moments in history, the largest of which took place in the papacy of Hadrian I (772-795).


The letter provides no evidence as to where Adeodata was living, nor of why she requested relics.


Edition: Norberg, D., S. Gregorii Magni, Registrum epistularum. 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 140-140A; Turnhout: Brepols, 1982). English translation: Martyn, J.R.C., The Letters of Gregory the Great, 3 vols. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004). Further Reading: Dal Santo, M., Debating the Saints' Cult in the Age of Gregory the Great (Oxford: OUP, 2012). McCulloch, J., "The Cult of Relics in the Letters and Dialogues of Gregory the Great," Traditio 32 (1976), 145-184. Neil, B., and Dal Santo, M. (eds.), A Companion to Gregory the Great (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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